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The Mature Traveler

Hiking Tours Take Off in Europe, New Zealand

May 18, 1986|BILL HUGHES | Hughes is a 25-year veteran travel writer living in Sherman Oaks.

Here are three trip and tour ideas for the many mature travelers who prefer to spend the summer doing more than watching TV reruns:

Walk-a-Hike tours of the Austrian Tirol and Italian Dolomites and also the superb Milford Track in New Zealand are being offered by Bobbi Stenstavold, a Spring Valley travel agent-hiker working with Orbitours Inc.

Stenstavold's Walk-a-Hike tours, specifically designed for mature travelers, allow tour members to see the superb mountain scenery during four- to five-mile walks along beautiful, well-maintained trails.

"These are not long, rugged treks with backpacks," says Stenstavold, "but a nice balance of mountain walks, usually with a day of leisure in between, combined with first-class hotels and most meals.

"In contrast to more strenuous hiking tours of Europe," she explains, "Walk-a-Hike trips use trams, cable cars, mountain trains, even ski-lifts to deliver our group of 20 or 25 to the scenic paths in the mountains. Local guides lead the way on most occasions."

Leaves Sept. 4

The 18-day Walk-a-Hike tour to Austria and Italy, which includes stops in Munich, Germany, and Innsbruck, Salzburg and Linz, Austria, plus four days in Castelrotto in Italy's Dolomites, leaves Sept. 4. Cost from Lost Angeles is $2,195 including air fare on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines to Munich via Amsterdam.

Orbitours and Stenstavold's New Zealand trip, also 18 days, leaves Nov. 6 from Los Angeles for $2,295, including air fare on Air New Zealand.

The New Zealand Walk-a-Hike is just a bit more demanding, says Stenstavold, mainly because of the four-day hike traversing the Milford Track, a 33-mile hiking trail on New Zealand's South Island that has been called the "Finest Walk in the World."

"There are no tents or campfires, nothing like that," says Stenstavold. "Accommodations and meals are in fine dormitory-style lodgings along the trail."

In addition to the Milford Track trip, the New Zealand tour also visits Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and the Rotorua area.

Preparation Advised

"Any mature traveler in good general condition can make, and enjoy, the tours with no problem," assures Stenstavold. "Last year we had one 73-year-old lady who was right behind the guide on every hike."

"But people planning for such walking tours should prepare by walking two miles a day for six weeks before departure. For those choosing the Milford Track tour, maybe a bit more mileage each day, with some hill climbing as well."

For more information: Bobbi Stenstavold at Orbitours Inc., 7550 University Ave., La Mesa, Calif. 92041. Phone (619) 463-6638 or (800) 621-0852, Ext. 568.

A first-ever golf school for seniors (50 years and over) is part of this year's schedule of Golf Digest Schools around the country. It is set for Sept. 14 at Sea Island, Ga., and costs $2,300 per person, which includes first-class accommodations at The Cloister resort, all meals and social events plus the full school program.

"Older golfers often have more diverse problems and need greater attention to their golf swings," reports Andy Nusbaum, director of the Golf Digest Schools. "This first-year program for seniors is limited to 40 participants and will be headed by Davis Love Jr., former tour pro.

Other non-senior Golf Digest Schools are to be held this summer and fall in Mission Hills and Rancho Mirage, Calif., Sun Valley, Ida., Princeville on Kauai, Hawaii, and Boca West Resort in Boca Raton, Fla.

For more information: Golf Digest Schools, (800) 243-6121.

Del Webb's Sun City West in Arizona has a Summer Fling vacation offer for those 50 years and over for $175 per couple for any week from June 1 through Aug. 31. The winter rate is $395.

The price includes a furnished garden suite with a totally equipped kitchen and use of the $14-million, 40-acre recreation complex of five golf courses, tennis, bowling, dancing, swimming and more.

One free round of golf on the championship Hill Crest Club, home of the Senior PGA Roundup, is included.

To qualify for the vacation offer, which also includes a three-day package at $98 a couple, one member of the couple must be at least 50 years of age and no one under 19 is eligible.

For information and reservations: (800) 528-2604.

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